Courtship question


My son has been courting a young lady for 1.5 years although our families have been best friends for 17 years - they will both be 22 in April 2008. They have discerned and prayed throughout the relationship and are both wearing - purchased and given by my son - True Love Waits rings as a sign of their commitment to chastity and to each other. The problem and question that my son asked me to do a bit of searching on (he is presently without internet access) is this: She just finished with college this month. She has to do an internship to actually graduate. He graduated last Spring and is employed at a job that has some possibilities for a permanent position - in fact, co-ownership of a company. Without really discussing it with him, she has decided to do some additional schooling in a town 6 hrs away from him…and hopefully do her internship there. He was rather upset when he heard this the other night and asked why she didn’t come to the town where he lives instead - the college there has the same program and also internship possibilities. Her response was that it would be improper for her to do that because it would look like she was chasing him and until they were married, it is the proper thing for him to move to wherever **she **goes.

This seems so backwards to me…and to my son. To us, the man is supposed to be taking this time before engagement and marrying to build a nest egg and prepare for being the head of the family. He can’t be leaving jobs to follow her. Are we way out of line here? Are we missing something? She said that C. West says this specifically in his books/work. I did a bit of looking today and can’t seem to find any reference to it.

Your help and insight would be appreciated.



Are they engaged?


why is the rest of the family involved in this discussion? seems the young folks are old enough to work this out on their own.


They shouldn’t be asking whether it looks like she’s “chasing” him, or he be asking if she’s wrong without asking him.

They really need to take this to prayer to see where God is calling the both of them.

It seems they both didn’t ask each other or seriously take this to prayer of where God is calling them. If they did, she would have asked for your son’s input and he would have been able listen to her fears of looking like she’s “chasing” him and he would have been able to voice his concerns and possible other options for completing her degree.

Prayers for your family and for the young couple.


Is she perhaps frustrated that she doesn’t have a real engagement? Sounds like there’s not a lot of communication going on. My husband “followed me” after we got married. I was finishing my MA in another state. Headship doesn’t mean making more money. It means taking the responsibility for everyone in the family, and making sure they are all growing into the people God desires them to be. I know faithful Catholic couples with stay-at-home dads (with older children).

I don’t promote long engagements myself, if you know confidently that this is the vocation and the person you are meant for.


That’s what I was getting at in my comment above.

If they aren’t engaged, then she is free to make whatever decisions she wants or needs to, independently.

If they are engaged, then they need to discuss this themselves and reach their own conclusion

Communication and compromise are arguably the most important aspects of any relationship, especially marriage.

God bless.


She is right. She cannot admit that she is taking an internship to be near him, even if that is what she really yearns to do, because she has no claims whatsoever on your son.
He’s got to chase her round the country. Whether he throws in his job to do it is up to him.


Yes, but he’s also free to make his own decisions and he’s under no obligation to continue their relationship.

On some level, one’s free to make independent decisions even when married (we have a more concrete obligation, but there’s no coercion except monetary support)

On a certain other level, no one’s ever free to disregard commitments to other people, promises made - even implied ones, even the feelings of others. There’s no exception that would free us from the need to be charitable and considerate.

To the Opening Poster:

In my view, the young lady is taking “C. West” way too literally. With all respect to Mr West, he’s not the Bible, nor a Father, nor a Doctor. 19th century savoir-vivre rules are not moral precepts, either. There is no religious commandment that would read “thou shalt not chase a man but a man only shall chase thee,” right?

If the young lady is concerned with her own dignity, then I would work it out, but if she’s going through a phase of reading Mr West more literally than one reads the Bible, then well, perhaps she’s not ready for marriage yet.

As for both your son and her, I’ll agree with the previous posters that there is some problem with communication involved. They probably need to talk more. I would hazard a guess that the girl feels a need to stress and underline her independence, but if that’s a bad thing I don’t know. I can only tell you I’d be extremely cautious toward that if I were in your son’s shoes. It is extremely correct that he needs to respect her, and it’s a good thing that she respects herself and her reputation, but she also needs to respect him and there’s no going around this. Once again: she needs to respect him and there’s nothing a courting man does that would waive his right to the basic respect which is owed to any person, especially any friend. He couldn’t waive that respect even if he wanted to. I’m not saying she’s entirely wrong. In fact she’s right that it would be more proper for him to do the chasing. But she’s forgetting that apperances are not the most important thing and that foregoing consideration of others’ feelings, let alone one’s own commitments, for the sake of apperances, is not the answer. I’m guessing she’s extremely traditional socially, thinking it’s almost a unilateral affair - the man has to keep chasing, begging, bargaining, until he’s accepted by the woman and her family. There are benefits of that system, but personally I think it’s between two people and both have to try, and both have to respect each other. Everyone has to be charitable to everyone anyway.

I suppose it’s time to stop focusing on what would be proper and what would fall within a literal reading of a book by Christopher West, but actually do some talking and think what is it that they need and where God is heading them.


Sounds like they are both need a little more growing time before they are ready for marriage.

First, there are no “rules” for courtship that must be followed. That is just silly. He should “chase” her? What is she, a rabbit on a dog track? Puleeze.

Secondly, they have no claim on each other. They are not engaged, not married. If they go to school and work in cities 6 hours away for a semester what’s the big deal? It may actually help them to obtain some proper perspective and grow as individuals. He doesn’t have to go chasing off to her city, abandoning his job. She doesn’t have to take an internship in his city, either. Good grief, it’s for a few months.

Thirdly, they should be communicating with each other on a much more adult level than they are. “It says so in this book” is not a reason to do something. Maybe this distance is a good thing-- neither of them sounds ready to marry, especially her. She sounds like she’s read too many books and has too many “ideas” about how things are “supposed to be.”

Lastly, I certainly understand your son wanting your advice, but I would start to slowly extricate myself from his personal business.


Honestly it sounds to me like she was waiting for him to move a step closer to marriage with an engagement and when her mental deadline came and went, she decided on this to both stress her independence and give your son a kick in the pants. If she is ready for marriage and your son isn’t, I see nothing wrong with her moving a distance away from him and pursuing her career. I agree with the pp’s…communication seems to be a problem for them, but some of this may be stemming from her not wanting to solicit a proposal…or she may very well be ready to move on from this relationship. I’d highly suggest they sit down at a coffee shop for a good 2 hour discussion on their hopes and dreams as individuals and as a couple. I think there is a good chance that some things are going unsaid…

God bless,


P.S. I just reread your post…the girlfriend is taking things waaaay too literally too. There’s nothing wrong with letting the guy make the first move, but moving away so he has to follow you is just plain silly. :shrug:


People who dictate their lives according to gurus in books are not ready for marriage. The fact she made such a big decision without his input indicates either:

a. His opinion wasn’t a factor in her building her own future.
b. Their communications are not sufficient for her to say “What do you think?” In which case, 1.5 years of courting have lead nowhere.
c. She is playing games. And that’s not how you should run your life.

She has a right to pursue the path to graduation. The separation will be good. They will either transcend the distance and grow closer, or it will effectively end the relationship.

My question: Is this a situation where she is subconsciously trying to see how much the courtship was encouraged by “best friend families” and how much is it that the two really belong together? Maybe she feels pressure in this whole thing and wonders if there are other guys out there and she doesn’t want to marry someone just because the families thought they played cute together since they were five.

I think the parents need to back out of this.


I would suppose it would be very little consolation to be right, if that means the relationship might fall apart anyway.

You can teach a person a lot of things, but one thing that is hard to teach is proper judgement. It’s hard to teach how to size up a situation and know what to apply to it.

I would say that when comparing two different decisions both will come with different advantages and disadvantages. If she wants to do this, then this presents a fine situation to test the relationship as Liberanosamalo has said. If anything, if a couple wants to be together and the relationship has some stregnth, it can forgo a lot of stress. Granted on the other hand, relationships are rather organic and need to be tended to as any living organism or else it can die, so it’s best not to really just go out and test it on any sort of a whim.


Tests come whether you want them or not. Best to have it happen before you walk down an aisle.


:wink: Well the test will come even if one has happened before the walk down the aisle. Also the tests can be completely different and test a different perhaps weaker aspect. At least a couple can come away with a sense of confidence and strength of the relationship, and an understanding of the patterns that come with the stress. At the same time, it’s best not to be too over confident. Otherwise a couple might let strain and stress to become too burdensome and the link will snap.


Her response was that it would be improper for her to do that because it would look like she was chasing him and until they were married, it is the proper thing for him to move to wherever she goes.

I find this attitude quite strange.

This seems so backwards to me…and to my son. To us, the man is supposed to be taking this time before engagement and marrying to build a nest egg and prepare for being the head of the family. He can’t be leaving jobs to follow her.

And I find this attitude equally strange. To me it makes no sense that “the man should follow the woman” or that “the woman should follow the man.” It all depends on the situation and the individuals involved. There is no “should.” And what’s wrong with living apart for a short time? They’re not married or even engaged.

Why is the rest of the family involved in this discussion? Seems the young folks are old enough to work this out on their own.


First, there are no “rules” for courtship that must be followed. That is just silly. He should “chase” her? What is she, a rabbit on a dog track? Puleeze.

Ha! I love this. :slight_smile: I hate all these stupid arbitrary “rules” about dating (especially that infamous book “The Rules”) that were completely made up by fallible human beings who seem to think all men are exactly alike and all women are exactly alike.

I think 1ke’s response was right-on. These two need to cut out all the B.S. Otherwise they are nowhere near ready for marriage.


A man goes up to a relatively ordinary woman, tries to chat her up, and gets a brush off.
His mates tease him about how fat and ugly he is, and he goes and buys a drink.

A woman asks a fairly normal man for a date, and is brushed off. Her friends tease her, and it is an unendurable humiliation.

Men and women are not the same. Women must not be seen to be rejected, even though in fact they are rejected, constantly. Caring men do it subtly, prudent women make this easy.

  • Getting married right out of school/during college, terrible idea.(They will not be students the rest of their lives.)

  • Taking a year of two, to find out who, you really are, and the things you like to do in real life after college, excellent idea.

  • Getting a job at a firm you could really be partner in, stupendous opportunity.

  • Having a trustworthy adult that can give you information about life at a 50,000ft view/wisdom of ages, outstanding.

  • Finding someone who you can trust laying down your heart too for the rest of your life and will not placate you or play games, priceless.

If she wants to have her space, let her have it. Your son doesn’t need a ring on his finger or in his nose.:cool:


Well, now that you (Malcolm McLean) say, we do take public humiliation easier. :smiley:

On the other hand, look at what those rules, especially if adhered to blindly, are and where they lead. Sometimes they will lead to a woman’s brushing off of a man she would be happy to be with, just for the sake of appearances. At other times there will be several attempts, several rejections, before she accepts a man she’d rather accept at once, the moment he asked. May I say silly?

Of course, chances are I am the silly one and I simply don’t understand the value of that kind of training and those refusals for the sake of form. However, I find the act of intentionally delivering humiliation to be quite cruel and I don’t find cruelty compatible with mercy. Granted, sometimes we need to be harsh to spare someone a bigger pain or otherwise to correct him, but I don’t believe this to apply in the kind of situation we’re talking about.

One more thing. Men don’t actually take rejection oh so easily. Granted, we’re drink a beer and forget about a random stranger brushing us off, but that’s not the case where we care and it’s never guaranteed that, no matter our firm composure, we won’t grow bitter and disappointed inside. Books have been written over centuries about men going desperate and even committing suicide because of a woman’s rejecting them.

I’d say playing games is not only questionable on its own, but it’s also hardly worth the gamble sometimes. Without thinking, I can identify at least two of my good friends, whom I greatly care for and respect, but who at some point have made me cross them out because of some games or some other form of insult or emotional hurt. It’s a kind of barrier that won’t easily go down and even if it will, then it will take too much down with itself and not enough will remain to build a strong relationship on. I’m not saying this to accuse anyone of anything - it’s just a manner in human attitude that’s better got rid of as soon as possible when growing up.


Sorry Malcolm, your post did not make any sense to me. :confused:

Guardian, I disagree that getting married right out of college is always a “terrible idea.” I’ve known several couples who have done so, and all are very devout Catholics or other Christians, and all are still married. I myself had just been out of college for a year when I got married.


:stuck_out_tongue: I in general think getting married is a terrible idea, children makes it exponentially so. That is why I advocate after figuring decent reasons that don’t allow you to obviously disregard the person for marriage, take it on a wing and a prayer, and just do it. No need to overthink these things.

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